My Grandfather & My “Party Suicide”

(I’m reposting this because I recently went to a family party and was thinking about him.  It was one of the first parties after he died)

I went to visit my 88 year-old grandfather today.  He has Alzheimer’s, lacerated ulcers and gastric lymphoma.  He’s dying quickly now.  He took a turn for the worse the other day and it’s probably just a matter of days now.

He never had any health problems until the Alzheimer’s got him last year.

A Brief History: He was a great man.  He graduated high school when he was 16 and later graduated from college and attained a master’s degree.

He was a farmer, a lobster fisherman and was vice president of a large chemical company before retiring.

His first wife was an alcoholic and treated him, my father and my aunt like pieces of shit.  She’s dead now and I never cared.  No one shed a tear for her.

He had a second wife and she was an evil bitch.  She nearly killed him and stole everything he cared about when they divorced.

After fucking my grandfather over, she had a stroke, was paralyzed for a time and then died.  Fuck her too, I never shed a tear.

He was a great husband, father, grandfather and never hurt a soul.  He was a gentle man.

I speak of him in the past tense because he is no longer here.  His body is on earth, but his mind is gone.

His Room: I walked in to his room and there he was, under his covers with his mouth agape like he was catching flies.  His skin has become almost translucent now and he’s starting to resemble a skeleton. 

I say hello and he stares at me like I’m a stranger.   I think he may even be looking past me and into another life.

I walk closer, kiss his forehead and tell him who I am.  He smiles and says hello.  I sit in a chair next to his bed and try to tell him about my kids and what we did during the holiday weekend.  He stares straight ahead at the wall on the other side of the room.

I shed a few tears, but remain composed.  I continue to talk to him more, but he’s asleep now.

I again kiss him on the forehead, tell him I love him and leave.  There is a good chance that will be the last time I see him, the last time I see one of the few people in the world I admired, I loved and I looked up to.

The End: It destroys me inside that such a wonderful, great man has been reduced to a mere skeleton of himself.  It kills me that he lays in a bed, pissing and shitting on himself.  It kills me that his brain has stopped working.  It kills me that he’s gone.

For one moment, I thought about helping him end the pain and suffering by placing a pillow over his face and taking that last breathe for him.  I could never do that because I care too much about consequences.   But watching him lifeless absolutely destroys me.

I called my wife and told her that I never want to be like that.  I want her to promise me that she will help me leave this world if I ever become like that.  She said no and I understand why.

Hopefully, if this happens to me one day, I will be able to end it before I get that bad.

I will make it fun though, kind of a “party suicide”.  There will be beer, there will be liquor and I will surround myself with everyone who loves me.

Then I will walk to the tallest bridge I can find and fly away from this planet, Goodbye.

No one deserves to be reduced to nothing, no one.

I’m an atheist for more reasons than this story.  If you believe in God, then you must believe that your God is cruel.  I can’t believe in that.


8 thoughts on “My Grandfather & My “Party Suicide”

  1. Great post – I completely agree, my worst fear is to become just a shell of myself. I’m so sorry for your grandad, he sounds like a great man x

  2. I’m not going to lie—I am tempted to rub salt in your open wound. I am tempted to tell you to stop whining, that I don’t feel sorry for your grandfather, that anyone who willingly marries not one but two evil bitches should expect that one of them is going to nearly kill him and run off with everything he owns, that if someone you love agrees to swim with sharks (or marry one), then you should be prepared for them to loose a leg and don’t complain about it. I’m tempted to say so he was a gentle man: BIG FUCKING DEAL. All of the atrocities in history were made possible be the inaction of gentle men who stood idly by. I’m tempted to wait for a more somber occasion to rub salt in your wound. I doubt there will be a national holiday for your grandfather when he passes. Perhaps the anniversary of his death or the day of his funeral when everything around you reminds you of him and all you really want to do is mourn his loss in peace. I am tempted to tell you that it’s nothing personal, but I hope you understand that I am writing with sincerity and truly from my heart. Except that wouldn’t be true because I don’t really mean all those things …

    I’m going to tell you instead that I am sorry for your loss because even though he has not passed yet, he is gone, that I have lost more than one loved one to the great thief that is Alzheimer’s, that I often fear I am seeing the early signs of the horrifying disease in my own father, that it is perhaps the most awful way to die, the most awful thing to have to witness someone you love suffer through, and that your grandfather sounds like a great man, and I applaud him.

    • I guess temptation doesn’t really mean much if you actually write it out in such detail. It kind of takes the temptation out of it and makes it real.

      It’s quite a stretch to compare my grandfather’s failed marriages to a soldier joining the military. He didn’t know his wives were evil until it was too late. Anyone with half a brain knows that the U.S. Government isn’t exactly honest and could very easily be construed as evil by several accounts. And he’s a veteran of the Air Force, but he never whined about anything, even when the VA continually treats him like shit. He’s just thankful that he has that benefit that most men his age do not. But he’s from a different era.

      This post has nothing to do with my post on soldiers whining. You seem to still be really pissed at me and I’m sorry for you that you are harboring that animosity towards my opinion. That’s what pisses me off about America sometimes, emotions often override reality.

      Thanks though for reading and commenting, I always appreciate your opinion even if I don’t agree with you. I really didn’t think I was whining at all with this post, just expressing my honest, heart felt emotions.

      • Did your Memorial Day post piss me off? Absolutely. Do I wish you any ill will or harbor animosity toward you for it? Absolutely not. If I did, I would have stated the above as if I truly meant it with the intent to hurt you or enrage you. That was not my intention at all. I was sincerely attempting to make a point (several actually), and I am sincerely disappointed that it didn’t come across. One of the points I was trying to make was about time and place, about respecting if not the appropriate time to criticize a specific individual or group of individuals, then at least keeping in mind timing for the sake of those who love and care about those you are criticizing.

        The other point I was making was about how harshly you judge others for the consequences of the choices they make. You may not see any connection, but for me, it is quite obvious and ironic. I am not a big fan of victimizing one partner and demonizing another in the case of bad marriages—especially with those who have a track record of bad relationships. Like most families, a lot of the people in my own family have made a habit out of marrying assholes. Sometimes the spouse has taken the word asshole to a whole new level (wife beaters, scorned and jealous women who try to get their ex-husbands locked up for life, serial adulterers, complete psychopaths, etc.). When I was young, I used to look at the “victim” in these relationships as some poor unwitting soul who just happened to find themselves married to an asshole. Then I grew up and realized that these “victims” continually repeat horrible patterns of behavior and make the same bad choices over and over and over again precisely because they think of themselves as the victim and never take responsibility for their own bad choices. They never stop and go “Why do I seem to have such unbelievably horrible judgment in people? Why am I attracted to the same types of people over and over and over again?”

        If every guy you’ve ever been involved with eventually beats the shit out of you, it’s time to do some self reflecting. If every woman you’ve ever been involved with is a gold-digging liar who sleeps with everything that moves, you might want to ask yourself if there were any red flags you may have missed before you got involved. Assholes are pretty good at hiding their dark side and saving it for later, but there is a reason why some people are drawn to them like moths to a flame while others have never found themselves involved with a wife beater, a serial adulterer, etc., etc. One might even argue if you continue to make the same poor choices in relationships over and over and over again, you kind of get what you ask for. I AM NOT arguing that because I think in general we are all terribly flawed and desperately in need of a little bit of outside guidance. Lord knows I’ve made plenty of bad decisions when it comes to relationships, but I also know plenty of people who would have no trouble looking at someone who makes the same mistakes over and over again and saying they get what they deserve. I have yet to observe a situation when someone married such an extreme asshole and there were no red flags, no buddies warning them, no track records to look at before getting involved with said asshole. Unless, of course, someone married someone they just met or barely knew, in which case, that in itself would be the problem (another bad decision).

        But I’ve kind of gone way off topic. I don’t really care about your grandfather’s bad marriages (I don’t mean that in a callous way, I just mean that wasn’t really the point). The point was that some things are quite personal. You want to make fun of me because I eat Taco Bell, go for it. You want to make a statement about the debasement of society as evidenced by our T.V. viewing habits, no problem. I’ve done enough in my lifetime to know that vegging out to an episode of American Idol for an hour doesn’t make me a waist of space. Hell, you can even rip apart my deeply rooted faith in God and fate and everything I deem holy, and I’m not going to take it personally. But if you don’t have enough respect for the people who have endured horrible suffering, regardless of the choices they made that led them to the point of suffering, or at least enough respect for the people who love them and care about them to save your commentary for another date, then don’t try to act above the emotional response you can surely expect to receive. Because if you sincerely wanted to start a rational dialogue, you wouldn’t have picked such an emotional date to open the conversation.

  3. @spartan: I understand exactly what you were trying to do, but the parallels you drew upon were totally different. When I posted about soldiers whining, I was only talking about the soldiers who actually whine and complain. I realize that there are plenty of good soldiers in this world. But, at this point in history, becoming a soldier for the U.S. is quite different than in the past. We are a war machine for no other reason than for economic gain. It actually saddens me.

    My grandfather was first married over 65 years ago. Times were different then, society was different then, relationships were different then. He never whined about anything and he always taught me to take responsibility for my actions and never blame anyone else for my problems. But that’s beside the point.

    So, if I would have posted that on a different day you would have had different feelings about it? I don’t think you would.

    Your comments didn’t enrage me in the least, I just thought you were stretching and reaching to try to prove your point. Maybe have someone else read my post about soldiers, my post about my grandfather and the comments you made and see what someone else thinks.

    It’s usually difficult to remain objective about a topic that you are so emotionally invested in. Just like I’m probably oversensitive about defending my grandfather because I am fully emotionally invested in him, like you are fully emotionally invested in the military and defending it. That’s something I don’t feel.

    I think I will always be critical of our government and military until they start doing the right thing. Most soldiers are pawns for the pasty white guys and it surprises me that so many of them are ok being sacrificial lambs. Does that mean I abhor all soldiers? Absolutely not.

    It will always be difficult for me to respect people who have suffered because of their own decisions, whether that be a soldier, a mailman or my grandfather.

    I am constantly amazed that people today can seriously look at our involvement in Iran and Afghanistan and be ok with it and feel like we are doing a good thing. I might feel differently if we had helped all those suffering people in Bosnia, in Rwanda in Darfur, but they didn’t have anything we needed.

    And by the way, I fucking love Taco Bell.
    Wow, these comments are getting way too long. You can always email me at; if you would like.

    • Ugh boy. Any parallels I pointed out about choices and consequences are really secondary and irrelevant to my main point, which was about having just a little bit of respect for those who are mourning and suffering, regardless of how you may feel about them personally. This may be hard for you to believe or understand, but my biggest issue with your post was, in fact, its timing. It wasn’t my only issue, but it was by far my biggest issue. Sure, I would be pissed off any day of the week that I heard someone say that some poor kid who got his leg blown off got what he signed up for and should stop whining about his benefits, but any anger that may surface in response to that opinion is magnified 1,000 fold when that opinion is expressed on a day that has been set aside to commemorate and grieve.

      The point wasn’t about similarities between your grandfather and soldiers—I could have picked any other random fact besides his marriages as an example—I could have worn the hat of the OWS crowd and said nasty things about him being the VP of a chemical company—whatever—that’s not the point. The point wasn’t about him—the relevant parallel was the callous disregard for those in mourning—the hypothetical disrespect was directed toward you, the person grieving the loss, not the one who is gone. Your grandfather isn’t going to read what I wrote—the question I was posing was how did it make you feel?

      Maybe it didn’t bother you in the least, not even on a hypothetical level, and that’s okay too. There are soldiers who could give a shit about Memorial Day. There are soldiers who toss their medals and who completely agree with your war-for-oil-and-natural-resources point of view. Good for them. I’m not really interested in debating politics, which is why I haven’t addressed any of the comments you’ve made about the war itself. The point is that there are many soldiers and families who do observe Memorial Day as a solemn and sacred day of mourning. They grieve not only the ones they’ve lost, but the ones who are still with us suffering through the consequences of war, whether it be physical, mental, or both. One of my husband’s battle buddies paid for him to drive halfway across the country to go speak at his American Legion’s Memorial Day service. That’s how seriously some of us take Memorial Day. On Memorial Day, the Facebook status of most of my battle buddies read RIP to someone they knew and lost. None of us ever say “Happy Memorial Day” because for us, there is no such thing. So I know it may be hard to understand, especially when you can find other soldiers who don’t feel the same way, but for many of us, violating the sanctity of that day is infinitely more offensive than whatever opinion you may have about soldiers whining or otherwise.

      I’m sorry if I had to go in a round about way to focus in on my point—the emotional nature of the subject makes it far more difficult to express what I’m trying to say in a cohesive way. And I’m sorry about the length of the comments—I would have emailed you this last one, but I figured if my point wasn’t clear to you, it probably wasn’t clear to anyone else who read it either. I don’t give a shit if people disagree with my point of view, but it does irk me to no end when I feel like my position isn’t clear or is misinterpreted! But that’s pretty much it in a nutshell. I don’t really care what your views about the war are. They are so polar opposite from mine that I don’t see much point in engaging in a debate over it, and I’m sure as hell not going to loose any sleep over it. I do get upset on any day of the year by callousness expressed towards any group of individuals who have endured great suffering, whether you think they deserve the suffering or not, but again, while I completely disagree here with your point of view, it was the timing and manner in which you chose to express it that I had trouble with. In any case, I certainly wish no ill will toward you or your grandfather, and hopefully what I was trying to say is a little bit clearer now.

      (Oh—and I kinda hate Taco Bell, so I guess bad example all the way around!)

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